Trainer Donovan Russell, representing the connections of Emperorofthecats, says since the tongue-tie was removed from the four-year-old bay gelding, the Carl Anderson trainee has transformed into a remarkable animal.
This came after Emperorofthecats, who is also bred and owned by Anderson, completed his second-consecutive victory in the top-rated Open Allowance contest on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
Emperorofthecats, ridden by apprentice Ramon Nepare and who was running at the level for the first time, easily defeated rivals by two lengths in the three-year-old and upwards contest at the minimum trip of five furlongs (1,000m) on the round course. The final time for the event was a smooth 59.4 seconds (23.0 x 48.3).
"Mr Carl Anderson has done a wonderful job with this horse [Emperorofthecats]. As you would have noticed, he [Anderson] removed the tongue-tie, and Emperorofthecats has been a different horse since; he also sorted out a lot of problems with him as well.
"The horse had some issues and they are taken care of, and because of the issues he had, he wasn't giving you consecutive runs like that and performing as well, but now he is a completely different horse," Russell said in a post-race interview.
Emperorofthecats wasn't well away at the break, but the much-improved Nepare, doing riding honours for the first time, got the bay gelding into a good position going into the half-mile (800m). He sat in third place behind Yellowstone (Anthony Thomas) and God of Love (Dane Dawkins).
Emperorofthecats continued to navigate the turn well behind the leaders before producing an electrifying run in deep stretch to steal the march on rivals. Nuclear Noon (Tevin Foster) came on the scene late to hook second place, ahead of God of Love in third.
Yellowstone had actually finished in third place, but the chestnut gelding was disqualified and placed out of the frame for causing interference and intimidation during the running of the race.
"The performance was excellent, and we can't complain. The trainer told the jockey how to ride the race, and the jockey rode according to instructions, and that was that. Well, I can tell you that this horse is going places. He is going straight to Grade One," Russell said.
"In terms of distance, this is not really the best for him, as Emperorofthecats likes it six furlongs and up, where he can relax and pace well. He is a strong pacer," added Russell.